What to Expect From MBA Classes

Education, Participation, Homework and More

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Students preparing to attend an MBA program often wonder what MBA classes they will be required to take and what these classes will entail. The answer will of course vary depending on the school you attend as well as your specialization. However, there are a few specific things you can expect to get out of the MBA classroom experience.

A General Business Education

The MBA classes you will be required to take during your first year of study will most likely focus on major business disciplines. These classes are often known as core courses. Core coursework usually covers a range of topics, including:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Organizational behavior

Depending on the program you are attending, you may also take courses directly related to a specialization. For example, if you are earning an MBA in information systems management, you may take several classes in information systems management during your first year.

The Chance to Participate

No matter which school you choose to attend, you will be encouraged and expected to participate in MBA classes. In some cases, a professor will single you out so that you may share your opinions and assessments. In other cases, you will be asked to participate in classroom discussions.

Some schools also encourage or require study groups for each MBA class. Your group may be formed at the beginning of the year through a professor assignment. You may also have an opportunity to form your own study group or join a group that has been formed by other students. Learn more about working on group projects.


Many graduate business programs have rigorous MBA classes. The amount of work that you are asked to do can sometimes seem unreasonable. This is especially true in the first year of business school. If you are enrolled in an accelerated program, expect the workload to be double that of a traditional program.

You will be asked to read a large amount of text. This may be in the form of a textbook, cases study, or other assigned reading materials. Although you will not be expected to recall everything you read word for word, you will need to remember the important bits for class discussions. You may also be asked to write about the things you read. Written assignments usually consist of essays, case studies, or case study analyses. You should know how to read a lot of dry text quickly and how to write a case study analysis.

Hands-On Experience

Most MBA classes provide an opportunity to obtain real hands-on experience through the analysis of case studies and real or hypothetical business scenarios. Students are encouraged to apply the knowledge they have acquired in real life and through other MBA classes to the current issue at hand. Above all, everyone in the class learns what it is like to work in a team-oriented environment.

Some MBA programs may also require an internship. This internship may take place over the summer or another time during non-school hours. Most schools have career centers that can help you find an internship in your field of study. However, it may be a good idea to search out internship opportunities on your own as well so that you can compare all of the options available to you. 

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Schweitzer, Karen. "What to Expect From MBA Classes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/mba-classes-466470. Schweitzer, Karen. (2023, April 5). What to Expect From MBA Classes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-classes-466470 Schweitzer, Karen. "What to Expect From MBA Classes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-classes-466470 (accessed June 6, 2023).